A group of about 25 customers at the supermarket in Keynsham, near Bath, ripped the wrapping off their goods and left it at the tills.
Tony Mitchell, who organised the protest, said “three huge trollies” were filled with discarded plastic.
Tesco said it was “absolutely committed to reducing plastic packaging”.
After completing their weekly shop, the protesters paid for their groceries before taking scissors to the plastic packaging and leaving it behind for the store to deal with.
Mr Mitchell, said the group had been a “bit apprehensive” but the response from supermarket staff had not been at all “hostile”.
“The manager was there and he was being distant but friendly and, from what one or two people said, he sort of agreed with this,” he said.
He added the group was not “picking on Tesco” and would be hitting the local Sainsbury’s and Waitrose next.
“We’ll certainly be doing the other supermarkets in the town which have not been making as much effort as they might have done,” he said.
“And I personally will be quite happy to just strip my plastics off and drop them into a trolley but I’m not lacking in confidence that way.”
I really like this because it is a targeted and big impact action.
I have occasionally seen blogs of individuals who crow aout being a “zero waste household” or about being ethical and reducing their plastic use who do so by going to stores and removing the packaging of things and leaving it in store rather than taking it home. This is what they think being “zero waste” means. Sure they can be proud that their garbage bin is almost empty every week but they conveniently forget that all the waste still exists and is just being dealt with else where.
This protest on the hand was very deliberate and was not about any one individual feeling better or reducing consumption but instead a united action to try and get a corporation to act more responsibly. Sure they only hit one store out of hundreds in the UK alone but it is a message that gets passed up the chain and will more than likely be repeated across the country. And yes, it meant a little more work for staff, but by being considerate and putting all the waste in one location (the trolleys) the protesters balanced being disruptive and being seen with being considerate and responsible.
And I know that super markets buy from all sorts of suppliers so aren’t responsible for all the packaging but they are responsible for any of their own brand products and they do have major sway with suppliers, packagers and producers.
And if you support this and think that what we need is responsibility from large corporations and it is not the responsibility of just the individual citizen then contact your supermarkets or brands you use a lot. Maybe we can’t or don’t want to all go to a supermarket and stare them in the eye while taking off packaging. But we can make a contribution. Tweet support. Tweet to brands and corporations. Email them. Go on their FB pages. Contact your MPs or local politicians and say “oi! do something about this waste. This is not an individual problem this is a systemic corporate and government level problem, you are the ones with the power to make a massive impact here”
Reblogging for commentary. This sums up how I feel about this action, and why it was meaningful but still considerate, and how it could be even more meaningful if organized on a larger scale.
Hemp is just generally more efficient for things that wood does. You can make boards out of hemp that are stronger than wood. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper and that ugly bitch is still around?
It takes wood 50 to 500 years before it’s viable for use as a material for paper, while hemp is only a few hundred days. Hemp paper can also be recycled three times more than wood pulp. You can produce 10 tons of hemp per acre in four months. It’s so much more efficient than wood.
What you won’t see companies talk about on Earth Day
Climate change is a capitalism problem, not an individual problem.
In science communication you hear about “natural frequencies” and communicating large numbers.
People’s minds shut down when you try to feed them numbers. No matter how good they are at adding up their grocery bill, if you try to get someone to comprehend the weight and meaning of a billion, they just nod along blankly, with a teakettle whistling sound happening behind their eyes. A shut-down mind can’t receive your message. And often a mind will do a preliminary shutdown if you make it feel Bad or Guilty.
That’s a huge, huge problem with trying to communicate science. Especially the science that needs to enter people’s brains to give us a hope of survival. Especially in a political climate in which people genuinely feel that they can pick which facts to believe in, and dismiss competing facts as conspiracy theories.
That’s why one should express scientific concepts and Big Numbers in ways that people will recognise and understand. For maximum impact, use things that people can immediately visualise. Say, “in a room full of 100 people, three of them are at risk.” Say, “this could fill a football field.” Say, “the dinosaur was the size of a golden retriever.” Say, “if you got in your car and drove, this distance would take a week to cover.” Say, “that amount of money would be like you and everyone you know having an extra £500 in your bank account every month.”
The first article linked in the OP is by The Guardian. And it has a splendid example of this.
It tells you that the decision-makers of climate change – the people holding the reins – the humans responsible for 2/3 of the planet’s emissions – “could fit on one or two Greyhound buses.”
If you have the space, just allow that mental image some headroom for a bit.
Climate change feels so big that maybe you feel that it’s hopeless; you could never do anything about it; you didn’t even recycle that plastic fork. The neoliberal idea is that everyone else is your enemy – that everyone else (those fuckers) is eating up your future, and it can’t be stopped because you can’t stop All Humans. You picture all those hungry mouths jostling and competing and gobbling, and perhaps complain edgily about overpopulation, thinking that the Unstoppable Greed of Humanity Is Ushering Us All To Our Inevitable End. In this worldview (which is rather deliberately inculcated) everyone is responsible, and everyone has failed. The insidious idea is that destruction is a key part of humanity (those fuckers) and obviously your horrible neighbors are GOING to water their lawn anyway, so we all deserve to die horribly together, as the punch line for some meta-SF novel. Or maybe you’re a vegan and If Everyone Else Was Too Then We’d All Be Saved, but they’re not, so in the meantime you can prance about explaining this at length on social media, which probably feels amazing? Or something. I don’t know, I don’t really read those subreddits and I’m not on Insta, but they’re extremely common reactions. And of course plenty of people have conveniently decided that it isn’t a problem at all, which is a brilliant decision because they’re obviously untroubled by any speculation.
So perhaps sit with this image instead. Of the decision-makers fitting on two Greyhound buses. That isn’t All Humanity. That’s 90 corporations. A few dozen people. They’re the ones doing it (although they’re quite happy for you to be An Jaded Vegan ™ or to perpetuate Overpopulation Discourse ™ – both are so marvellously distracting and enjoyable – bread and circuses.)
While we run about in a panic forgetting to carry canvas shopping bags, and furiously glaring at our neighbors for leaving their engines running? That handful of people could change the world with remarkably little inconvenience; they just rather prefer not to.
In conclusion – by all means eat mindfully, and limit your consumption, and strategically place your canvas bags in places where you’ll remember to grab them. But when you feel yourself blaming The Humans for the next wave of nebulous fear and panic about the future: stop it. And think of those greyhound buses instead.